Globally -renowned wrestler and Hollywood stunt choreographer-actor, Greg Burridge, who hails from the UK is now foraying into Kollywood with Ithu Vedalam Sollum Kathai, directed by Rathindran Prasad of Kodaikanal Won’t fame. He will be seen as an antagonist opposite lead actor Ashwin Kakumanu, besides choreographing action sequences for the film.
DC caught up with Greg during his recent visit to Chennai, during which he talked about how his love for Tamil culture, cinema, women and even Kabali!
“I play the villain in IVSK. I can’t speak much about my character, but it’s definitely worth the hype — and I guarantee that Indian audiences won’t be disappointed,” Greg says.
On working in an industry where language could have been a huge barrier, he says —”Initially, training 30 Indian wrestlers for an action sequence in the film looked very different from my style of working. But, being professionals the common phrase which connected all of us was ‘martial arts’! Communicating in that language made my work easier. Unlike Hollywood or London, here it gets an ‘Indian twist’!”
During the first schedule of IVSK in Rajasthan, Greg found it difficult with the scorching heat — “In Pushkar, I did not do well. It is a holy town and I could not eat meat! My diet mainly comprises of high protein. It was very hot for me to stay for a month. Finally, I am in Chennai and indulging in all kinds of delicacies.” (laughs)
Talking about Indian films, he says, “In London, Tamil movies are screened in theatres and there are a lot of Bengalis, who watch south Indian films, apart from Bollywood. I watched Salman Khan’s Sultan, where he plays a wrestler. The film fascinated me. I want to work in Sultan 2 and essay the lead antagonist in it... hope they produce a sequel ! That apart, I am really keen to continue working in India, and take on more interesting characters.”
He also has a friend in Bollywood — in Abhay Deol! “I worked the stunts for one of his movies in Los Angeles, and we hit it off. I watch all of Deol’s movies without fail,” he grins.
Talking about actors in the south, Greg adds, “I have heard a lot about Rajinikanth. People say that everyone takes time off when his movies get released!”
And guess what? He’s even watched the Superstar’s iconic Baasha! “When I was in India for the previous schedule of the shoot, I happened to watch one of his movies in Mumbai, where he is a gangster and rides a tuk-tuk (auto). He looks simple and plain without any makeup. I love that he has the right energy, so the work in mind comes alive in him. I think that is important in anything that you need empathy — Rajinikanth has it and hence he has been extremely successful, no matter what role he plays.”
Heaping praise on his director Rathindran, he adds, “Rathindran is one of the most honest and genuine men I have seen. The filmmaker in him is so strong that he keeps the entire team together. He has given me the first break in India as an actor, and the opportunity to explore my talent in Indian cinema.”
Having interacted with a few people in Chennai, the 35-year-old wrestler now says that he want to marry an Indian woman — preferably a Tamil actress! “The values and cultural upbringing is different and good, and they really value the institution of marriage.” But more importantly, he aims to prove his talent across the industries, “I want to showcase my new style of choreography — i t is exceptional.”